West Virginia DEP Marcellus Emergency Rule Public Comment Period Now Open
Charleston, WV – In July, acting West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin directed the WV Dept of Environmental Protection to draft an emergency rule to increase regulatory oversight of horizontal well drilling in the state. September 1st began a 30 day comment period on the rule intended to gather public comment in order to help state legislators write a permanent version in 2012. Public comment will be accepted until September 30th, 2011 via email or regular post. The rule will become effective after approval by the Secretary of State and will remain in effect for 15 months.
According to information on the DEP website, the rule adds specific language to the state Office of Oil and Gas regulatory program concerning the practice of horizontal drilling. It calls for the following:
Operators must include an erosion and sediment control plan and site construction plan, certified by a registered professional engineer including a well site safety plan for sites that disturb three or more acres of the surface
A water management plan if they intend to use more than 210,000 gallons of water during any one month period including detailed information about the source of the water, disposition of the wastewater fracing fluids, a list of additives to be used
30 days public notice to communities where a well is proposed
And protections for the land and water both during the drilling process and during reclamation.
To find the rule, go to www.dep.wv.gov, and enter “horizontal well rule” in the search box. The document is listed as 35CSR8 Title 35 Legislative Rule.